Meet Afrika Bambaataa, Cornell professor
Afrika Bambaataa has been an unofficial professor of hip-hop for so long, it makes perfect sense that Cornell University would appoint the pioneering Bronx-born DJ and founder of the Universal Zulu Nation to a three-year term as a visiting scholar.
"Wherever I go on the planet, I'm always teachin' -- tryin' to wake people up to what hip-hop culture is and how people should love the culture that brought so many people together," says Bambaataa (who, incidentally, is credited with first coining the term "hip-hop" in a 1982 Village Voice article). "I guess [Cornell] wanna have somebody that's talking the whole culture movement, and I've always been speaking on that since the beginning of hip-hop."
Bambaataa's foray into the world of Ivy League academia -- which kicks off with his three-day visit to Ithaca at the end of this month -- is happening thanks to Cornell University Library's Hip-Hop Collection (part of the library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections), which facilitated Bam's appointment.
Established in 2007, the collection houses some 7,000 hip-hop recordings -- including live recordings and more than 1,000 pre-1983 studio recordings on vinyl--plus hundreds of party and event fliers dating back to hip-hop's early-'70s birth; photos by photographer Joe Conzo, who documented hip-hop's beginnings in the South Bronx; graffiti blackbooks; and more.